Saturday, June 22, 2013

Arms smuggling: Court summons eight accused Russians

A Federal High Court in Lagos has summoned eight Russians charged with unlawful importation of arms to Nigeria.

Justice James Tsoho issued the summons on Friday following the absence of the Russians in court.
The prosecutor, Mrs. Jane Igurnumbe, applied for the summons after she informed the court that the accused, who ought to be in court for arraignment, were out of the country.
She urged the court to issue a criminal summons to compel them to be present in court.
The accused are Chichkanov Vasily, Varlygin Igor, Komilov Alexander, Mishin Pavel, Korotchenko Andrey, Vorobev Mikhail, Stepan Oleksiuk and their vessel, MV Myre Seadiver.
The judge granted the prosecutor’s application and ordered that summons be served on the accused.
Sixteen of the accused were first arraigned before Justice Okechukwu Okeke on February 19, 2013.
The Federal Government had on June 18, 2013, dropped charges against eight of the accused, but promised that it would press charges against the remaining eight.
The Russians were said to have been arrested with their vessel by Naval officers on October 18, 2012, in Lagos state.
A cache of firearms and assorted ammunition were allegedly discovered in the vessel.
He adjourned the case till July 9 for arraignment.
During their initial arraignment, the suspects had pleaded guilty to all the four counts against them.
Justice Okeke had granted them bail, releasing them to the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, while their vessel was given a bail bond of $500,000 to be obtained from First Bank Plc.

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